Inventories in Europe

National (and regional) landslide databases in Europe

A landslide inventory is the most important information source for quantitative zoning of landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk. It should give insight into the location, date, type, size, activity and causal factors of landslides as well as resultant damage (Hervás, in press). In Europe, many countries have created or are creating national and/or regional landslide databases. Yet little was known on their contents, completeness, format, structure, language use and accessibility, and hence on their ability to perform national or transnational landslide zoning. To fill this knowledge gap, Van Den Eeckhaut and Hervás (2012) performed a detailed analysis of existing national landslide databases in the EU member states, EU official candidate and potential candidate countries, and EFTA countries, and their possible use for landslide zoning.

Twenty-two out of 37 contacted European countries currently have national landslide databases, and six other countries have only regional databases (Figure 1). In fall 2010, the national databases contained 633,696 landslides, of which 485,004 are located in Italy, while Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and the UK also have more than 10,000 landslides in their databases (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Spatial distribution of national and regional landslide databases in Europe (n = number of countries). Canary, Madeira and Azores islands are shown in the bottom left inset.

National landslide databases are generally created in the official language of each country and 58% of them contain other natural hazards (e.g. floods and sinkholes). About 68% of the databases contain less than 50% of all landslides in each country (Figure 2), but a positive observation is that 60% of the databases are updated at least once a year or after a major event. Most landslide locations are collected with traditional methods such as field surveys, aerial photo interpretation and analysis of historical records.

Currently, integration of landslide information from different national databases is hampered because of differences in language and classification systems for landslide type and activity. Other problems are that currently only half of the national databases have a direct link between spatial and alphanumeric information, and that public access is generally restricted or limited. A minimum set of features to be included in national landslide databases is suggested, and a flow chart is presented that classifies European countries by ability to perform national-scale landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk analyses.

Figure 2: Number and estimated completeness of landslide locations in national (n = 24) landslide databases in Europe. Canary, Madeira and Azores islands are shown in the bottom left inset.

More information

Acknowledgments

This study has been carried out in the framework of the EU-FP7 project SafeLand: Living with landslide risk in Europe: Assessment, effects of global change, and risk management strategies (Grant Agreement 226479; http://www.safeland.no). Special thanks go to all the contact persons and organisations that took the effort to complete our questionnaire. Their coordinates can be found in the above mentioned publications.

Contact Point

Javier Hervas
Tel: +39 0332 785229; E-mail: javier.hervas@ec.europa.eu

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